Edmonton is Alberta’s capital city, located in the centre of the Alberta Capital Region on the North Saskatchewan River. With a metro population of over 1.3 million, Edmonton is the second largest city in Alberta and the sixth largest metropolitan area in Canada. The city of Edmonton covers an area of over 680 square kilometres (264 square miles) while the Edmonton Capital Region includes a metro area of over 9,400 square kilometres (3,636 square miles).
35 municipalities make up the Edmonton Capital Region, including the cities of Edmonton, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Leduc and Fort Saskatchewan; the surrounding counties of Strathcona County (including Sherwood Park), Leduc County, Parkland County and Sturgeon County; and the towns of Beaumont, Bon Accord, Bruderheim, Calmar, Devon, Gibbons, Legal, Morinville, Redwater and Stony Plain. The Greater Edmonton Area also includes a number of smaller villages and reserves, including Wabamun, Seba Beach and Kapasiwin among many others.
The city of Edmonton is the governmental, cultural and educational heart of the Alberta Capital Region, the northern anchor of the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, and home to most of the region’s residents.
Get better acquainted with the city of Edmonton: visit the city website, read about the city’s history, and learn more about the city’s government, services, transportation and events.
Built on the river, Edmonton is divided by the North Saskatchewan River Valley, the longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America and the highest per capital parkland area of any Canadian city. 22 times larger than New York City’s Central Park, the North Saskatchewan River Valley runs from the south west corner of Edmonton and winds its way through the city, slicing through Edmonton’s bustling downtown on its way to the north east quadrant.
This unique urban “Ribbon of Green” parkland is interconnected with multi-use bike and walking trails, and is home to many popular Edmonton attractions including Fort Edmonton Park and the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Several popular private and public golf courses dot the River Valley, including the Mayfair Golf and Country Club, Riverside Golf Club and the Rundle Park Golf Course.
The 25 kilometre (16 mile) River Valley system includes 11 lakes, 14 ravines and 22 major parks, yet this massive river valley system only makes up half of Edmonton’s total 27,000 acres of parkland. The rest is scattered throughout city neighbourhoods in both small and large portions, including dozens of community parks and an extensive ravine system in the south west area of the city.
Edmontonians make use of this extensive parkland all year round, enjoying both summer and winter activities. In the winter public greenspaces and golf courses become popular places for cross-country skiers while many of the lakes open for public skating once they freeze over. Edmonton has two downhill ski hills within the city limits and an additional two within the greater Edmonton area.
These are some of Edmonton’s most well known attractions, including iconic government buildings, notable parks, popular public gathering areas and recreational spots.
Edmonton’s Downtown core and Whyte Avenue areas are where most of the events and key cultural buildings are located. The city’s Arts District includes City Hall, Sir Winston Churchill Square, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Citadel Theatre and the Winspear Centre. Across the river, the Whyte Ave, Glenora and University areas include many theatres and live music venues. Old Strathcona is home to a mix of live venues and local theatre companies including The TransAlta Arts Barns, The Waterdale Playhouse, Catalyst Theatre, and the Varscona Theatre.
Known as “Festival City, Edmonton is host to an impressive roster of year-round world-class festivals including the largest Fringe Festival in North America, a week-long festival featuring over 1,400 performances in 40+ indoor and outdoor venues. Other major festivals include the Street Performers’ Festival and Taste of Edmonton in Sir Winston Churchill Square, Capital EX at Northlands, and the popular Folk Music Festival in Gallagher Park.
The most popular nightlife spot in Edmonton is Whyte Avenue, with most restaurants, cafes and clubs located between 99th and 109th street in a trendy atmosphere mixing a vibrant streetscape, unique locally owned specialty shops, and the highest concentration of heritage buildings in the city.
Since the 1990s, Edmonton’s Downtown has undergone a vast change and now provides a diverse array of trendy restaurants, pubs and shops. With this resurgence of interest and activity in downtown Edmonton, more and more independent boutiques, live venues and chef-driven restaurants are opening.
From theatre and opera to live local music and classic symphonies, Edmonton has some truly fantastic live venues and world-recognized theatre companies.
Not for nothing is Edmonton known as “Festival City”. From long multi-week festivals to smaller weekend-long extravaganzas, Edmonton has a festival for every season.
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